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JobCentre Staff Say They Are ‘Depressed’ Because Of Sanctioning

May 23, 2014

Labour exchange employees say they are ‘depressed’ by making people destitute on the orders of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith

FRONTLINE Jobcentre staff renewed their campaign yesterday to scrap Tory benefit sanctions they are forced to hand down to Britain’s worst off.

Civil servants protested at PCS conference about the impact of the government’s welfare policies they witness everyday at work.

Unemployment benefit of just £71 per week can be stopped for two weeks under sanctions introduced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Jobcentre worker Martin Humphrey told delegates about the “depressing” task of telling people their benefits have been stopped.

He said: “We have to say to people that they have to live on nothing for two weeks.

“To make people destitute for two weeks is despicable.”

Jobcentre staff exposed once again how they are given sanction targets to hit — a claim Mr Duncan Smith continues to deny.

Britain’s pensioners are also given just £110 a week while disabled people face cruel tests by private comapanies, PCS vice president John McInally pointed out.

He said the result has been soaring demand at food banks, a rise in homelessness and hate attacks on disabled people.

And he said: “As a union, we have a duty to stand up for our members and our services.

“It’s disgraceful that our members’ job to help people is being turned on its head in order to attack the most poor and vulnerable.”

Department for Work and Pensions rep Fran Heathcote said frontline civil servants had been the target for anger from disabled, elderly and unemployed people stripped of benefits.

But she said: “PCS members understand and share the concerns of the people we serve every day.

“They want to help the unemployed find work and pay benefits to pensioners, the sick and the disabled.”

Delegates resolved to fight welfare attacks alongside groups like Disabled People Against Cuts (DPac) and other trade unions.

The union also committed to exploring the viability of a universal basic income to replace Mr Duncan Smith’s failing Universal Credit scheme.

Leeds delegate Annette Wright pressed the union for a campaign of non-compliance with benefit sanctions.

She argued that legal advice given to the union would allow civil servants to boycott sanctions if PCS “first of all identifies a legitimate trade dispute.”

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2014 3:29 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. May 23, 2014 3:29 pm

    All this is OK if they are facing their own claimant. My six month sanction was due to Work Programme staff being unfit to function, and despite me showing evidence of this at the jobcentre on signing days, the advisors would lose their bottle and not take up the issues with them (issues like not holding their own mandatory appointments, or Ingeus managers not turning up at the jobcentre for their appointments to discuss things, also appointments for days that do not exist etc). Where was the jobcentre staff then, when they knew it would lead to sanctions?
    Here is a two year timeline of my time on the work programme, where the jobcentre staff were scared to help out. Not I have uploaded evidence among the many comments below it to back up what I say https://www.facebook.com/dailymirror/posts/10152241563449162
    Your jobcentre staff are disgusting in how they treat people.

    • Sam Smithson permalink
      June 24, 2015 12:59 am

      Leslie Bailey, I read your post and it is full of nonsense. There were no fake appointments at Ingeus. Ingeus is very heavily monitored by DWP and everything is scrutinised. You should be honest with these good people as not all of us do not want to work. The reason there have been changes to Welfare is because of people like you. You have spoilt it for the genuine people who need help. I was at Ingeus when you were there. Your advisor explained everything to me. You haven’t worked in over 30 years and you never attended your MANDATORY appointments over a eight month period – that’s why your benefits were stopped. You weren’t looking for a job so why should you be entitled to JSA? You thought you could beat the system and it finally caught you out. Whilst I understand you have learning disabilities I do feel that you could have worked in the last 30 years. If you put as much effort into looking for a job as you do writing these fictional posts about ingeus and started looking for a job you would be better off. There are jobs that you could have done. You are now unemployable – no one would employ you as you have no skills and nothing to offer an employer. If I remember rightly, you were deliberately confrontational on the rare ocassion you did attend Ealing office. But trying to take on DWP there is only ever going to be one loser. It’s not fair that others have to go to work and you choose not to work. The reason you were asked to go to Wembley was that you were stalking your 26 year old female advisor at Ealing and the police had to be notified as your behaviour was quite scary.

      • Leslie Bailey permalink
        June 25, 2015 1:55 am

        Actually you are very wrong, you go on the Work Programme after six month on unemployment (my jsa claim started June 2011) not 30 years. I attended every Tuesday & Thursday (sometimes Fridays) from September to March/April and was not confrontational (I put my complaints in writing, not out loud, so records of them are made, save for the Valentines day incident when were were all sent home as few staff were capable of functioning).
        My Advisor when I was offered Wembley was Male, and there was a handful of us sent to Wembley, not just myself, and by the time Wembley was offered I’d already stopped attending, and had JCP Ealing’s permission to blank/ignore the advisor you talk of above by this time, as her Supervisor would not discuss the issues of substance abuse of her staff (quoting confidentiality etc) either on the phone, in person or at JCP appointments to do so.
        But let’s go through the whole story from the start, including the advisor you mentioned above.
        1st advisor Missed his appointments. Second missed his first one, then gave no more after the second (05/3/2012) telling me at the time to wait for a new one. It never came, so in September JCP Ealing stepped in to make us missing WP clients to force Ingeus to start seeing us (I’d forgotten about Ingeus by then). So now we are back on the WP, and forced to sit the moduals/workshops we missed previously. My CV was finally emailed to me on 09/9/2012 (nearly a year after I started).
        Those re-entered into the WP were stopped from uploading their CVs to website applications this I was not prepared to put up with (1st Complaint, CC’d to JCP Ealing as well). So now I had to use a staff PC for job applications, as the workshop ones would not let you upload CVs.
        This is were you advisor above enters into things.
        Nov 2012 and she is my new advisor, but so spaced out she loses my CV, Email Address, and skills etc that the previous one had put into
        the system. So no appointments were going to be made by her. At the initial (and only interview with her) she was unable to talk about finding work, only her likes and dislikes etc, even letting slip what part of London she lived in.

        Older clients warned me she had a drug habbit, and another staff member warned me she was always talking about me, this was not a real problem then, as with no possibility of appointments, ignoring her was the easiest thing in the world to do.
        Jump forward to Valentines day 2013, job-station computers for 11-15 February only available in mornings, due to afternoon workshop activity, posters had been telling everyone. But on 14/02/2013 @ 09:30hrs and we are all turned away from the computers, they claim there are morning workshops. My previous advisor forgets he’s not been my advisor for three months and tries to stop me from complaining. I say I want to see my own advisor, she’d been put right down the far end of the office, as far away from clients as she can be, with another advisor. She was so spaced out that it was clear no-one would get any sense from her that day, same for the other sat with her (he was the one sent to Wembley later on with 4 or 5 of us who were moved there). From here on things get really bad

        Following under the influence “personal attention” from said female advisor (causing some clients to accuse me of supplying her with her drugs), she would walk out in a huff when I looked straight past her.and the local Ingeus manager repeatingly claiming she “could not discuss the matter”, plus emails for help to Ingeus going unanswered, the local Jobcentre steps in and, gives me permission to “stay away from her (advisor) as she is trouble/dangerous” (she’d just ceased to be my advisor). That was like a safety valve had been lifted, I could now make it clear I was not noticing her (I was becoming scared by now over what would happen next, and the pressure of all this on me was starting to become obvious to others). Remember I was trying to keep it all “in House” at this time.
        Not getting anywhere and the stress of it all now too much, I tell them I’m not coming back.

        This causes a panic at Ingeus Ealing. I thought this might work, (although if the appointment with the Ingeus manager at Ealing JCP one Tuesday morning had gone ahead, I would of refused to go to Wembley).So off to Wembley it is, But Ealing Ingeus would not risk a fresh Wembley advisor asking “what has happened so far?” So we get another drug using advisor (the one sat with the previous advisor on 14/02/2013). And we had to carry on as if Ealing client too.
        I instantly refuse him and ask for another Advisor, Wembley now are stuck, as they cannot replace him, as we were still Ealing Clients, so I refused him and did not attend, as other Wembley advisors were prepared to take me on, but Ealing said no.
        There we no fake Appointments as such, but fake advisors, in fact an administrator.
        Ingeus’ reaction to me showing the “under the influence” emails etc to JCP Glasgow (sanction Requests) was to give me a “Fake advisor”. This leads to my appointments showing “did not attend” (but also stopped the emails and texts). I could prove to JCP Glasgow my attendance, due to having to sign in and receive a proof of attendance ticket at the security desk at Wembley Ingeus, before reaching the Ingeus office.
        One final appointment at Ingeus was on 11/12/2013, this was the BIG ONE! A Mandatory one called a “DNA caseload” (Did Not Attend caseload). Here I get to discuss all of the above and it will have to go on record. As you can probably guess, they fail to hold the meeting. I’m there 10 minutes early, others with appointments for this woman get seen. The kid on the front desk not really knowing how to deal with the situation of an advisor with a Mandatory appointment not wanting to hold it.
        That mandatory appointment if held would of provided me with the evidence to overturn the JSA Sanction that ran from 23rd June 2013 to 17 December 2013. Again Ealing Jobcentre lost it’s bottle and would not take them to task over not holding such a crucial and mandatory appointment.
        As for Stalking, there was one email, after I’d stopped attending to tell her to stop the drugs and what it was making her do at work. The police you mention were fully aware of the situation, and tried to ask me to start attending again, I was not accused of stalking.
        I can give you a fully detailed timeline, with names, times, advisors (Ingeus & JCP) as a word doc. and screengrabs of the “Fake advisors” and all that went on to stop me logging into the Ingeusworks portal thin too, all only put right after JCS intervened. Also screengrabs of the “Under the influence” emails I received throught all this.

  3. alan permalink
    May 23, 2014 8:58 pm

    then thy should go on strike. the I will believe.as your not trusted

  4. May 23, 2014 11:06 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  5. May 24, 2014 12:51 am

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog.

  6. May 24, 2014 12:57 am

    No-one forces Jobcentre staff to work in Jobcentres. They can leave.

    All sanctions are more than merely preparatory to an assault on a claimant as this leaves people with no ability to buy food.

    Thus the Jobcentre is forcing starvation on claimants as adults and their under age children dependents.

    You cannot find work because not only are you starving, but you have no means to get to a job interview or take up employment.

    Food Banks only give 3 vouchers in a year.
    UK is the sole nation in Europe who do not have council staffed kitchens who provide a free cooked meal and hot drink every day, 7 days a week, to the working poor and poor pensioners, as well as penniless and starving homeless caused by Austerity.

    Workfare is nil wages, but sanctioned off benefit and workfare, also means starvation.

    My blog shows how all could be fed every day in England, at least:
    http://theswansnewparty.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-pages-on-hunger-in-uk-index-to-blogs.html

    The citizen wage referendum failed in Switzerland, because it did not marry up providing a living wage to basic needs in life with a cut in executive bonuses in the same firms, by law.

    The Guardian gave a suggestion of a citizen wage, not means tested so minimal to nil admin, of £7000 per year. If this was paid to everyone from 18 to infinity with the closures and sacking of all staff in the DWP and Jobcentres involving in sanctioning benefits, it means basic grade staff had the citizen wage to tied them over til they found new jobs. The managers will easily find work, whereas the over 50s will not in the basic grades, which is mostly women. So the state pension at 60 would be a great help, with 30 years NI contributions or made up as part of the redundancy package by early retirement.

    • December 13, 2016 9:48 am

      “No-one forces Jobcentre staff to work in Jobcentres. They can leave”

      yes and get sanctioned themselves for leaving employment voluntarily ! and end up unemployed and homeless themselves. I worked as an adviser in what was then the Dept. of Employment and was retired 20 years ago because of stress as I refused to fiddle the figures on the statistics, I was thanked for my help by numerous claimants when they bumped into me out and about but that holds no water with the bosses, it took me 3 years jumping through hoops and going to see shrinks and specialist and having lies told about me by my employers and some of the people I worked with who were desperate to save their own jobs

      Please don’t think all the staff are evil and enjoy what they are doing yes some will (there are evil gits in all walks of life ) many are just ordinary people trying to hold onto their jobs as they can see exactly what will happen to them if they lose it

  7. May 24, 2014 1:36 am

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  8. May 24, 2014 4:31 am

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

  9. jray permalink
    May 24, 2014 5:02 am

    Not to be rude,but the Bitch in my JCP seems to relish giving out sanctions,MWA and bad advice,every time I go in my “Job Search” is incorrect and she states that this is not the advice she has given,good thing I record all meetings…..(I really hate her)

  10. May 24, 2014 8:28 am

    Depressed! Bunch of tossers. Try feeling the hate.

    Go on, really imagine just how much you are hated.
    just imagine the amount of times a normally gentle, quiet mild mannered person has wanted to stomp you and put your pen where the sun don’t shine.

    Nazi troops said they were only following orders.
    Like the comparison?
    You should because that’s what you are saying and look like to someone you have just destroyed..

    In today’s angry world, you should think hard about that. After all just how quickly do you think the clown of a security guard can reach you and how much damage an irate client can do in that time.

    You have a choice, don’t sanction.

  11. beastrabban permalink
    May 24, 2014 9:30 am

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  12. Barry Davies permalink
    May 24, 2014 9:57 am

    I somehow don’t think that all job centre staff are unhappy at sanctioning, it has become a cultural thing so they have league tables and bonus’ for sanctioning claimants which they want to be top of the list for. There may be a few who would prefer to do the job they signed up for but I don’t believe that is the case with the majority.

  13. May 24, 2014 10:03 am

    Reblogged this on Social Action.

  14. May 24, 2014 10:47 am

    I,m unsure how long this regime has been running in job centres, but if this was a genuine concern among DWP staff then they should have contacted their union and boycotted the orders given to them by this dictratorial government as soon as it was implemented. How many people have been made destitute, how many have died or commited suicide because of the inhuman way they have been treated by these poor depressed civil servants. A lot of them are pissed with power and strive to be top of the league for handing out sanctions, if they had taken action straight away then this claim might just be credible. I believe it is because they are being harassed by some of the people they have ruined and forced into extreme poverty.

  15. jray permalink
    May 24, 2014 12:09 pm

    Your Job search is not specific enough,your Job search is not what I want,how do I know you actually applied for these Jobs if you will not give access to UJM? I used the example given in the CC booklet,issued by the DWP to record my JS activities “Disregard that,it is wrong” can I have that in writing? No…Instead I now E-Mail the JCP advisor(?) every time I log on and in minute detail explain what I am doing(87 E-Mails last Month) at my sign on day I ask to discuss my search/progress and the E-Mails (that she has never checked) sorry I do not have the time! So why do you require me to conduct and record such an extensive JS if we can;t review it? …..No reply!

    If you can’t dazzle them with your Brilliance? Baffle them with your Bullshit!

  16. May 24, 2014 12:17 pm

    Reblogged this on The Greater Fool and commented:
    The poor souls. If Mark Serwotka and his army of collaborators really cared they’d refuse to give the sanctions out in the first place and the whole thing would grind to a halt. Truth is, most of them are all too keen.

  17. May 24, 2014 12:44 pm

    im wondering, when did any pensioners get their benefits stopped. far as i knew pensioners have not, as yet, been attacked .i know there has been talk of stopping pensioners free bus passes,tv licences etc but we still have those and as far as i know pensioners on DLA are not being touched (upto press) until 2015 as far as assessments are concerned,

  18. May 24, 2014 12:44 pm

    This is a start. Now we want the police, G4s etc, etc to follow and refuse to follow orders. We need to support those who are speaking out and put forward workable suggestions as a number of bloggers are. I think the basic wage for all citizens is the best idea.
    So let’s start demanding it!

  19. May 24, 2014 12:45 pm

    Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Good to hear there is a start on objecting to sanctions!

  20. May 24, 2014 3:27 pm

    Here is a scenario that led to sanctions for a number of people in West London, I wonder what opinion their union has of this, will they still back their immoral staff up on this?

    January 2014, We are given appointments for a NON-EXISTANT meeting called “Initial Assessment” with a JCP employee called ****. We are told it is to find out what skills we have, so they can point us in the right direction in the future towards long term employment

    At appointment time we find that **** is elsewhere in the jobcentre holding a class, but in walks a representative of “Skills Training UK” (bases conveniently next door to jobcentre).

    There is absolutely no assessment of anyone before we are told “you will go on either ECDL level 1 or ECDL level 2 courses or be sanctioned” This by a non JCP employee. We are then made to sign papers for two days a week Mon-Tues 1.30pm – 4.30pm.

    Turn up on the Monday, and we are told it is now 5 days a week, despite signing papers showing it is for two days a week. But worse was to come.

    It then transpires that the provider does not have the discs needed to do the (self-taught) course anyway! (ECDL level 2 was the one I chose).
    Instead, we are each greeted with a huge pile of A4 size screen-grabs to teach ourselves from, this of course takes away the automated way he course goes from one module to another.
    Most clients are now totally lost with this massive mountain of paperwork in front of them and start dropping behind.
    The person sat next to me is then told “you are not paying attention, and must leave the course, your money will be sanctioned”.
    Now who did he not pay attention too? There were no tutors, as it was a self-teach course.
    Next I’m told you are not paying attention, but before the words sanction are used I walk out and see my JCP advisor, she says straight away your money will be effected.

    At this I turn into blackmail mode, and on the statement paper I have to fill in, I make it clear that all advisors when handing out these appointments (2-3 days before the appointment) for “Initial Assessment”, They knew full well that not one part of that appointment letter was ever going to happen. As well as pointing out he 5 days when we signed for 2 days and the rest of it. In my case it was swept under the carpet, but others were sanctioned as a result of what went on.

    The thing is THOSE JOBCENTRE PLUS ADVISORS KNEW THAT NOT ONE THING ON THE APPOINTMENT LETTER WAS EVER GOING TO HAPPEN to me or any of the others.
    We were enrolled on a non-equipped computer course purely through lies that were deliberately told to us by our JCP advisors, a course that could only ever result in sanctions and was fraudulent from day one.

    Where was the union and the depression they were suffering then?

    PERHAPS THEIR DEPRESSION IS REALLY ABOUT BEING FOUND OUT, OR ABOUT THEM RECIEVING PUBLICITY FOR THEIR OWN DECISIONS.

    THEIR DEPRESSION IS SELF INFLICTED, AND WELL DESERVED, THEY ARE FAKE.

    • May 24, 2014 7:57 pm

      This is appalling and totally unacceptable but you were able to deal with it. Others were not and were sanctioned. It seems we have to stick together as a group and help each other through this. It is very helpful to share your experiences and to take it up at whatever level we can and to help others when they have similar experiences. But there will be some jobcentre staff who dislike what thy are doing and going into hate mode against them all is just what the powers-that-were want. Divide and rule and the world carries on and nothing changes.

    • Sam Smithson permalink
      June 24, 2015 1:00 am

      Leslie Bailey, I read your post and it is full of nonsense. There were no fake appointments at Ingeus. Ingeus is very heavily monitored by DWP and everything is scrutinised. You should be honest with these good people as not all of us do not want to work. The reason there have been changes to Welfare is because of people like you. You have spoilt it for the genuine people who need help. I was at Ingeus when you were there. Your advisor explained everything to me. You haven’t worked in over 30 years and you never attended your MANDATORY appointments over a eight month period – that’s why your benefits were stopped. You weren’t looking for a job so why should you be entitled to JSA? You thought you could beat the system and it finally caught you out. Whilst I understand you have learning disabilities I do feel that you could have worked in the last 30 years. If you put as much effort into looking for a job as you do writing these fictional posts about ingeus and started looking for a job you would be better off. There are jobs that you could have done. You are now unemployable – no one would employ you as you have no skills and nothing to offer an employer. If I remember rightly, you were deliberately confrontational on the rare ocassion you did attend Ealing office. But trying to take on DWP there is only ever going to be one loser. It’s not fair that others have to go to work and you choose not to work. The reason you were asked to go to Wembley was that you were stalking your 26 year old female advisor at Ealing and the police had to be notified as your behaviour was quite scary.

  21. Karen permalink
    May 24, 2014 8:56 pm

    I’ve been sanctioned simply for being a vegetarian.

  22. May 25, 2014 3:43 am

    Mandated to appointment at JCP but when i attended became apparent there was no reason. I asked why in a polite manner and was accused of shouting and being aggresive. Wrote letter of complaint to the manager. Two days letter police arrested me at my home and was held for 7 hrs and charged. Sinister and unbelievable, , , , still cant believe it myself.

  23. May 26, 2014 5:53 pm

    Reblogged this on SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH and commented:
    I was fortunate enough to find lucrative employment last September.

    My experience of DWP staff is that they are thick, some are well meaning and some are sadistic; but mostly thick and sadistic.

    Some were disillusioned; they gave up reading my work efforts, which they are required to do and merely said, presented with four A4 sheets of job applications “sign here” after a cursory glance at my ‘job sheet’. It could have been several pages copied from the dictionary, for all they knew!

    They mostly (the sadistic ones) disliked me because I could argue my case at least at their level of intelligence, often above.

    Iain Duncan Smith and his cohorts want mere puppets in the DWP to do their bidding; the ones who care are becoming fewer.

    I fear for my future, for at 57 years old I am unlikely to find such lucrative employment again. I fear yet more for my children’s future, who will likel;y see a lifetime of this despotic regime.

    • May 26, 2014 7:54 pm

      Exactly. So few people can see we are building a prison for our children and grandchildren which is why we sort it out now!

      x

  24. July 5, 2014 3:19 pm

    Good. They don’t know what depression is. To add my little story, without ranting on about it, I have been sanctioned for thirteen weeks. That’s thirteen weeks with no money to buy food to feed my five month old son. Fascism? You bet your arse it is.

    It is just plain wrong and immoral, as most right thinking human beings understand. My experiences at the job centre would make your toes curl. I have zero respect for anyone who thinks nothing of ‘sanctioning’ a young man – who, by the way has found a job, just waiting on a start date – knowing that his baby son will be hungry. In my sane mind, that is child abuse.

    They behave like nazis and target vulnerable people. I have seen it with my own eyes. No wonder g4s are walking about the place, intimidating people. The staff try to frighten and intimidate. They’re all on a power trip. If they gave a shit, if they had any inkling of a social conscience, they’d be walking out in their droves – but they’re not. I have sat and debated with my ‘advisor’ about this draconian system many times and even asked her, begged her, to gather up her colleagues and demand strike action. I have asked them their own opinions on sanctions and whether they believe it is fair and just to deny a family food. Their answer?

    ‘Them’s the rules’.

    They can’t even speak fucking English!

    C****!!

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